By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
The 2016 Audi A5 and Audi S5 are luxury sports coupes that are just as thrilling to drive as they are to behold. The exterior and interior styling look more like exhibits from a museum of fine art. But once you get behind the wheel, you discover that there's literally more to these cars than meets the eye. The 220-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder in the standard A5 is solid, with standard all-wheel drive and sharp reflexes. But there's also the 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in the S5 for those who want even more. Ride, handling, braking, steering and over-the-road manners are everything you might expect, and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) makes short work of inclement weather.
If you want a beautiful life, or want your life to be more beautiful, then parking a new Audi A5 Coupe or A5 Cabriolet in your driveway is a good way to start. The fact that it's a terrific all-around driving experience conducted in sumptuous luxury is practically a bonus.
The Audi A5 and its siblings are luxury cars and thus aren't cheap. Additionally, they're not alone, and similarly sized and priced coupes from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Cadillac and others make compelling cases for themselves.
KBB Expert Ratings
The powerful Audi RS 5 disappears this year to make way for the new A4 sedan on the production line. Other changes include a standard S line exterior treatment on all A5 models, a new Misano Red pearl paint, and Premium Plus models get a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The experience of driving a 2016 Audi A5 or Audi S5 starts the moment you get inside and get comfortable. Whether you choose the fixed-roof A5 Coupe or drop-top A5...
... Cabriolet, all models reward you with excellent balance, poise and a comfortable ride. A good part of the credit goes to the extensive use of aluminum in the A5's structure, which helps keep the weight to a reasonable level, while simultaneously ensuring a rigid chassis. However, part of it also goes to Audi's excellent chassis tuning, and the distinct difference among the three models. The standard A5's 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is brisk and fun, but the S5 Coupe and S5 Cabriolet and its supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and quattro all-wheel drive combine speed and over-the-road competence in a way that's accessible even if you're not an expert racing driver.
3.0-LITER SUPERCHARGED V6
Audi’s supercharged 3.0-liter V6 in the S5 is an excellent upgrade from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the A5. With 333 horsepower, 325 lb-ft of torque, snappy response, silky smoothness and commendable fuel economy, it comes with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic.
Just sit back and look at this car for a moment, and marvel that the Audi A5 coupe can look as good as it does even after nearly 10 years on the road. Its striking good looks are one of the major reasons for considering the purchase.
Rather than compromise function for form – or vice versa – Audi manages to blend striking design with easy day-to-day usability. The leather driver and passenger seats offer excellent support, but are still easy to get in and out of. The driver-focused gauges and center stack are sporty and functional. The S5 ups luxury and sport, with Nappa leather and a selection of dash inlays that includes carbon fiber, brushed aluminum, stainless steel or gray birch. While Audi's MMI infotainment system and other controls are easy to use, what really sets this interior apart are design and attention to detail.
Audi has mastered the art of designing conservatively attractive cars, and the 2016 A5 is a prime example. The sleek lines help tone down the brand's signature oversize grille, while the grille itself makes this car unmistakably Audi. The bold grille is flanked by LED headlight accents to create an unmistakable face, while the finely tailored sheet metal shows off the lovely flowing curves along the sides with carefully executed creases and crisp detailing.
This year, all new Audi A5 models get the upscale S line exterior treatment. Other standard equipment on the A5 includes a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, quattro AWD, 3-zone automatic climate control, tilt/telescope steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof and 10-way adjustable power leather seats. There's Bluetooth and iPod integration for the 10-speaker audio system, and even automatic headlights and windshield wipers. Audi S5 models add the supercharged V6 engine, plus Alcantara upholstery and keyless entry and ignition.
Options for the 2016 Audi A5 and Audi S5 include high-intensity-discharge headlights, LED taillights and a variety of wheel packages. Navigation now includes Audi connect, which allows searches using Google Earth, providing realistic terrain imagery, as well as the ability to send destinations from any browser directly to the car. Audi A5 and S5 convertible models can be ordered with a Red Acoustic convertible top, and the Black Optic Plus Package for the Audi S5 gets new 20-inch wheels.
It's a good day when the "base" engine is the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that's standard in the Audi A5. With 220 smooth horsepower, standard quattro AWD, and your choice of a 6-speed automatic or an 8-speed automatic with Tiptronic manual control, it's no penalty box. However, we're particularly fond of the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in the Audi S5, with its 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
220 horsepower @ 4,450-6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg (manual), 20/29 mpg (automatic)
3.0-liter supercharged V6
333 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900-5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg (manual), 18/28 mpg (Coupe, S tronic automatic), 18/26 mpg (Cabriolet, S tronic automatic)
Prices for a 2016 Audi A5 Coupe with a manual transmission start at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $41,500, including the $925 destination charge. Step up to the more powerful S5 model (you'll thank us) and you'll pay about $54,000. There's a convertible version of each, with the A5 Cabriolet starting just below $50,000, and the S5 drop-top a bit above $62,000. It's no surprise that options rapidly inflate the price of this luxury coupe, and the A5 lineup's prices are on par with its primary competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Before buying, check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what customers are paying in your area. Audi's predicted resale is very good, with the 2016 A5 Coupe expected to do significantly better than the BMW 4 Series Coupe or the Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe.